In a surprise move, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath moved a motion to suspend 11 members who have been protesting against the carving out of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh.
These include seven of the Congress -- Rajagopal Reddy, V. Arun Kumar, Srinivas Reddy, Ananth Kumar Reddy, Harsha Kumar and R.S. Rao (who was not present in the house) -- and four of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) -- M. Venugopal Reddy, N. Sivaprasad, K. Narayan Rao and Kristappa Nimmala.
"It is very unfortunate that from the very first day the house has not been able to run. I propose that the MPs be suspended till the end of this session," said Kamal Nath while reading out their names.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) opposed the move.
"I oppose it. We favour the creation of Telangana but it is sad the way the Congress announced its decision," retorted Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj.
"You have to decide whether you are for or against Telangana," Kamal Nath countered her.
As the speaker put the motion to voice vote, the entire opposition, including the BJP, Akali Dal, Shiv Sena, the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), Left parties, the Biju Janata Dal and even the Samajwadi Party, opposed it loudly in a rare show of unity.
Amid chaos, the chair adjourned the house till 12.45 p.m.
When the house reconvened, the scenes were repeated and led to a further adjournment for the day.
The motion is pending before the house, said parliamentary sources.
Congress sources said the speaker may call an all party meeting Friday to resolve the logjam.
Congress spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit sought to justify the move to suspend the MPs.
"It is sad that the parties changed their track in the house. There was a broad understanding among parties on it," he said.
Earlier, Kamal Nath had agreed for a discussion on the missing files related to controversial coal mine allocations with a provision that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would intervene in it.
This was clearly a softening of the government's position from Tuesday indicating it wanted the house to run and the coal files issue should not shadow the much touted food security bill.
"I want to make it clear that the government has nothing to hide. The coal minister is ready to make statement and there can be a discussion during which the prime minister can intervene," said Kamal Nath.
The prime minister is likely to intervene in the debate Friday, said sources.
Earlier, even as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) members disrupted the proceedings and raised slogans against the government, Sushma Swaraj said the BJP would allow the house to run if the speaker asked the government to agree to the prime minister's clarification on the issue.
"We are only demanding the prime minister's statement on the missing coal files. If the government says the prime minister will make a statement, we will let the house run," she said.
Communist Party of India's Gurudas Dasgupta, Communist party of India-Marxist's Basudeb Acharia and JD-U leader Sharad Yadav supported Sushma Swaraj.
The Congress had Tuesday appealed to the four TDP members to cooperate so that the house could debate and pass the food security bill.
The house could not function even after an all-party meet agreed to run it as the four MPs continued disrupting the house over Telangana.
--IANS (Posted on 22-08-2013)